3M Co. will expand its U.S. parental leave policy for nonunion employees beginning Jan. 1, company officials announced Thursday.
The policy change allows birth and adoptive parents to take up to 10 weeks of paid leave and another 10 weeks of unpaid leave. Previously, 3M offered parents of newborns and newly adopted children up to 12 weeks of unpaid “bonding leave.”
Several top-performing companies already offer six weeks or more of paid leave as they try to retain parents, and several companies, like 3M, are adding more.
Led by technology and financial companies jockeying for talent, many have a more-flexible workplace and more help with finding child care than 10 years ago.
Workplace experts note that the move is likely to increase loyalty, reduce costly turnover and help businesses make sure they don’t see well-trained talent walk out the door.
The leave issue has received renewed attention since President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, mentioned it on the campaign trail.
Under the new 3M policy, biological mothers will continue to receive the normal six to eight weeks of short-term disability time off, for a possible total of 28 weeks of maternity leave.
3M officials said that parents taking the leave are free to come back to work on a part-time basis at any time during the leave.
The expanded benefits, which will affect about 33,000 nonunion employees in the U.S., “are part of 3M’s continuing commitment to support greater work-life balance across the company,” officials said in a statement.
“We want our people to know that they can thrive at work and at home,” said Marlene McGrath, 3M’s senior vice president of human resources. “Welcoming a child into a family is a special time for a parent.”
3M employees across the company “spurred on the new policy through their input,” she said.
Other companies with paid leave include Target, Mayo Clinic and General Mills. Last month, unionized state employees started receiving six weeks of paid leave when they become parents.
To date, 288 employees are using the updated benefit change, state officials said Thursday. There are concerns, though, that the newly elected Legislature could decide to overturn the benefit plan next year.
Still, Gov. Mark Dayton and other state officials noted that expanding this one employee benefit would make the state “more competitive.”
Minnesota is the fourth state in the country to offer parental paid leave.
Tom Besonen, a 3M employee and father of three, welcomed the expansion.
“I’ve experienced how difficult it can be juggling work while trying to handle the needs of a new child and family dynamic,” he said. “This new policy allows both moms and dads the time they need to manage their new responsibilities at home without falling behind at work.”